Licensing Requirements BVI Sailing
In February 2013, I am planning on sailing for the 1st time in the Carribean on a 50' sailboat. I would like to bring some HF equipment with me and work some maritime mobile stuff. What if any licensing requirements are needed to operate on the boat?
If your sailboat is registered in the US, you may operate using your regular callsign when in US Territorial Waters or in International waters. You must comply with foreign licensing and operating regulations when entering foreign waters. Note, the ARRL has more info on other pages.
 If you boat is registered in a country other than the US, then you must comply with the regulations of that country, as well as those whose territorial waters are entered.
Last edited by KB4QAA; 08-05-2012 at 06:57 PM.
"Lossy Traps, Oh my!"
"Supporting AMSAT-NA Fox-1 Cubesat Launch in 2013!"
Since you are only going to be in Region II, you have full frequency spectrum available. If you were to get into Region I or Region III, then the frequencies available are restricted. Also, remember that on the 40-meter band, you will be able operate phone in the 7075 kHz to 7100 kHz segment.
I hope you leave some of those virgins for the next ham.
TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
So Glen, are you saying, there are NO special licensing requirements?
Originally Posted by K9STH
If the sailboat's registration is in the United States, there are no "special" requirements. If the sailboat is registered in another country, then things get sticky! If the registration is not from the United States then you have to abide by the regulations of that country which may include getting a license from that country!
Just remember to identify as "maritime mobile" when you are in international waters, this per ITU regulations. Also, give your ITU Region, which will be Region II, when in international waters. When in United States waters, including the territories, etc., technically you are just "mobile".
Hi William --
I have lived, worked (as a charter captain) and sailed in the BVI on and off for 24 years. I am very familiar with the VP2V licensing requirements...and have operated from sailing vessels there. I currently own a 47-foot cat in Roadtown.
You will not be in "international waters" at any time when sailing in and around the BVIs. You'll need (and want) to get a BVI reciprocal license. You will sign as
VP2V/K2WH. The reason you really want to get the license is that a) it is legally required and b) it generates a lot of interest on the air!
Getting a VP2V license is straightforward. You can do it in person in less than an hour (or via mail beforehand).
Go to the the Ministry of Communications and Works
See the Telecommunications manager (Mr Woodley)
R. G. Hodge Plaza. Its on the 3rd floor
In Road Town, Tortola.
Office hours are M-F 8:30-4:30.
Your US license and passport
The license is good for 1 year.
A couple of tips for operating from the boat:
- tell your charter company you want to run a radio from the boat (most will help you out getting set up)
- get them to wire your rig DIRECTLY into the boats' 12v electrical panel
- Forget verticals or loading up the backstay
- bring a 20M dipole with 20' of light (1/8) line attached to each end and 50' of coax feedline.
- hoist the dipole a with the flag halyard to the spreaders as an interted vee. That's ~35' up on a fifty foot cat
- tie one end to the forestay as high as you can reach (use the boat hook to extend your reach) and the other end to the end of the mains'l boom.
- OR - Charter my Leopard 47 cat, it is already all set up for radio! (Seriously, contact me for a good deal)
Last edited by K6TOP; 09-03-2012 at 05:49 PM.
I spent many years traveling on my sport-fisher to the BVI, to St. Thomas , Venezuela , DR, and back to the Bahamas on to Miami , my previous QTH. I did not have a ham radio license at the time but had the Icom SSB on my boat. A great radio. Almost all boats have them traveling these open waters out of VHF range. There are so many SSB maritime nets, several times a day in the BVI and the surrounding waters. Since there are very few real hams on these nets, most are SSB maritime marine operators using their SSB with the ships license. I found that no sailor possessed a license for this, as it was on the SSB Maritime channels. If you want to go outside these frequencies obviously things will be different, but you will not get many local contacts as most use the maritime channels for nets and information do not require an operator license and are the SOP. I took the following quote from my cruisers net website,
" You don't need to pass a Ham radio operator's test to use a marine SSB. All that's required is a valid Ship Station license and a lifetime Restricted Radiotelephone Operator's permit. No testing required! The Ship Station license is good for 10 years and is non-transferable. If you find that you're one of the very few cruisers who talks on the radio so much that SSB frequencies aren't adequate, then look into Ham radio. If you're good at dealing with online government forms, you can apply for a license at http://wireless.fcc.gov. "
Good luck and have fun.